Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and author of over 100 books, booklets & Bible studies. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,300 US outlets daily and in more than 130 countries.

when God wanted to use a word to explain

what knowing him would produce in the

lives of Christians he used the word

fruit fruit is God’s spiritual reference

to what our lives produce out of our

experience with him and God is concerned

that what we produce is in keeping with

who he is so that the product of our


fruit is consistent with our experience

with God God wants us to be fruity

Christians he talked about that but he’s

talking about fruity in the sense of

being fruitful highly productive in the

Bible when the word fruit is used in a

number of ways to speak of our

productivity a woman for example who is

pregnant the Bible will talk about the

fruit of her womb it’s talking about the

production or the producing of life that

is developing inside of her when the

Bible talks about productive work and

employment it talks about the fruit of

the labor of your hands it’s talking

about what your work has produced when

the Bible talks about our praise to God

it will often speak of the fruit of our

lips it’s talking about what our worship

is expressing so fruit has to do with

what is being produced we’ve already

seen that the law you experience God the

more power you will have to override the

circumstances in your life but the

greater our experience with God the more

wisdom we have in making the right

choices and right decisions in life

today Paul wants to raise the issue of

experiencing fruitfulness in life many

of us

when we look over our lives here Otton

fruit what we produce we’re not happy

with what’s coming out of us is not what

we want and we want better fruit we want

our lives to produce better results

fruit has three characteristics the

first characteristic is fruit is always

visible you’ve never seen invisible

fruit you’ve never gone shopping for

invisible fruit fruit is something you

can see you see an orange an apple a

pear banana you see fruit many of us say

we love Jesus but nothing to see no such

thing as invisible fruit if your

relationship to Christ is invisible or

only visible to you there’s not much of

a relationship because fruit is always

visible let me ask you if you are

accused of being a Christian would there

be enough evidence to convict you or

would you be innocent of all charges

so the first characteristic of fruit is

its visibility fruit is not just visible

fruit always bears the character of the

tree of which it is apart you won’t find

pears on apple trees you won’t find

oranges on pear trees because that’s not

the nature of the trees the nature of

the tree will define the definition of

the fruit orange tree oranges

apple tree apples pea tree pears so on

and so forth so if we’re experiencing

God then what should be coming out of

our lives that is the visible ought to

be godlike it ought to look like the

tree of which we are apart you see the

reason why a lot of stuff that is

visible that if coming out doesn’t look

like God is because we’re not

experiencing God as he wishes to be

experienced so the fruit doesn’t look

like him

in walk talk actions it doesn’t reflect

the character of the tree of which we

are saying we are part so

fruit is always visible fruit reflects

the character of the tree of which it is

a part and thirdly fruit never exists

for itself the only fruit you see eating

itself is rotten fruit see when a fruit

is eaten the fruit that means something

wrong with the fruit fruit exists so

somebody else can bite it so if nobody

wants to take a bite out of your life

because of how fruity you are how

fruitful you are if nobody wants to be

like you because they see God’s

relationship to you or me then something

is wrong in other words if I’m happy

with me but nobody else wants to bite

out of me it may be because I’m eating

me and that’s rotten fruit Paul says in

Colossians chapter 1 verse 10 in the

middle of the verse bearing fruit in

every good work and increasing in the

knowledge of God please notice he

connects knowing God with bearing fruit

or bearing fruit with knowing God

remember I word for knowing God is epic

enosis say epignosis now you can tell

all your friends are no a Greek word if

epignosis epignosis means full knowledge

or experience or knowledge epignosis is

not informational knowledge alone it

doesn’t mean I just have content that

I’ve memorized verses that I’ve read my

Bible a day I’ve read a verse a day to

keep the devil away that’s not epignosis

epignosis has to do with entering into

an experience Adam knew Eve and she

conceived it doesn’t mean he had

information about it

means he slept with her in other words

there was intimacy that produced fruit

in life so when he talked about the full

dollars of God the epignosis he’s

talking about entering into an

experiential connection with God a

intimate tie with God that must produced

life it loved Friedan’s fruit the

problem is that so many of us as

Christians we want to go to heaven we

don’t care about being fruitful on earth

I get really nervous about couples who

get married who say we don’t want to

have children who can’t have children

but they simply say we don’t want to

have children one because that means

that they don’t understand one of the

reasons for marriage which is the

procreation of the human race in the

image of God so they’ll understand that

too it usually means they are

self-centered we don’t want anybody

interrupting my flow because if I have

children and they’re going to distract

from my money my time my energy my

efforts my it’s inconceivable in a

biblical worldview that a couple would

get married and not want to have


the only two reasons why a couple

shouldn’t have children one they can’t

or two there’s some unique calling of

God on their lives so that they

shouldn’t there’s some couples I know

who go to dangerous mission fields and

they conclude that it’s not in God’s

will for them to have children because

of the nature of the mission field well

that was a unique calling but that’s not

the normative operation of children but

my point is that that the relationship

is to produce a product fruit Paul says

that this fruitfulness is tied to the

knowledge of God he starts off in verse

9 with the knowledge of his will he then

goes to wisdom he then goes in verse 10

to the walk he then goes and being a

hence to the work he’s got the will the

wisdom to walk and work all of that is

affected or producing a product and this

product is called fruitfulness when God

is producing something in the life that

is beautiful and enjoyable and edible a

product of impact and of usefulness what

God is after is that our experience with

him will give birth to some luscious

fruit character conduct and contribution

fruit of character fruit of conduct and

fruit of benefit to others or

contribution now most of us if we were

asked do you want based on this

definition your life to be fruitful do

you want to be a visible representative

of God do you want to reflect his

character do you want other folk to want

to bite out of your life because it’s so

rich and thick and vibrant and so yeah

that’s kind of life I want I don’t want

a life with bad fruit rotten fruit I

don’t want to be anybody in here no any

rotten Christians this right love Jesus

and right we got rotten language right

attitudes you know rotten dispositions

writing yes none of us is perfect

I’m not discussing perfection here I’m

talking about what’s normative I’m

talking about the way we flow I’m

talking about how we we operate

something is wrong something is wrong

and we know it’s wrong because we look

at the number of divorces among

Christians look at the number of

addictions that go on year after year

decade after decade by people who go to

church look at people who bless the Lord

on Sunday and cuss like a sailor or

Monday and Tuesday Wednesday and

Thursday and Friday Inventor

but then they’ll bless the Lord again on

Sunday what is the problem we’re not

experiencing God we’re hearing about him

we’re hearing his name we’re carrying

his book around under our arms we’re in

the right location but we’re not

experiencing no woman gets pregnant by

having a discussion about sex around the

breakfast table she can talk about it he

can talk about it they can talk about it

for years

and at nobody getting pregnant because

discussion about the subject and

knowledge of the subject doesn’t give

you the product from the discussion

there must be a hookup I mean there’s

got to be intimacy experiential intimacy

in order to produce fruit Paul says I

want you to bear fruit I want your

experience with God to be so rich so

deep so thick that you are fruitful so

that raises the question on the floor

today okay how do I get it how do I get

this thing so that I got big luscious

fruit in attitudes and actions character

and conduct just rolling out of my life

how do I get it okay I’m gonna make this

real uncomplicated this is this is going

to be kindergarten so important was

fruit that virtually a whole chapter in

the Bible was given to it and I want you

to turn there with me John chapter 15

st. John 15 I am The True Vine my father

is the vine dresser Jesus is now going

to paint the picture of experiencing God

and producing

it has played away as you will find in

the scriptures I am The True Vine that

means the original that means the real


anything else is a cheap imitation Jesus

says I’m the real deal I am The True

Vine my father is the vine dresser or

the gardener the job of the garden is to

take care of the vine I am the vine

Jesus is the vine

my father God the Father is the gardener

of the vine and I am the vine then he

says every branch in me well that refers

to you and me Christians Christians are

the branches so here’s the picture there

is a vine that is a great vineyard grape

vine there is a gardener who’s taking

care of the vine then they’re branches

that are hooked into the vine every

branch in me every saved person every

person that’s trusted Jesus Christ for

the forgiveness of their sins and

receive the gift of eternal life you are

a branch in the vine now notice what he

says he says that does not bear fruit so

we got a no fruit branch he takes up and

every branch that bears fruit now we got

a fruit bearing branch he prunes it so

that it may bear more fruit so we got a

lawful branch many verse 5 I am the vine

you are the branches he who abides in me

and I in him he bears much fruit so we

got a much fruit branch verse 16 you did

not choose me but I chose you and

appointed you that you would go and bear

fruit and that your fruit would remain

so let me go relating fruit all right so

watch where we went we went from no

fruit to fruit to war fruit too much

fruit two remaining fruit so this fruit

getting bigger as we go along we started

with a branch producing nothing tell a

branch producing something now our

branch is producing more than just

something now it’s producing much more

than law and now the stuff

we’ll go away his remaining fruit he

says when you bear no fruit verse 2 when

you’re saved because you’re a branch in

me but there is nothing to speak of

coming out of your life that reflects

the fact you are a Christian he takes

away verse 2 says he takes away takes

away from what is the question one time

in my life I have been to Napa Valley

Napa Valley California are where most of

the grapes are grown that are used in

this country that are produced in this

country in Napa Valley Northern

California number of years ago in Napa

Valley there was the sight of miles and

miles and miles and miles of great

vineyards people come from all over

America and all around the world to do

wine testing I vividly the vineyards I

did not taste the wine but miles and

miles of vineyards one thing you will

always see in a grape vineyard no matter

where you go you’ll always see this the

branches are hoisted up and tied to post

their posts every so many feet and the

branches from the vine ahoy stood up and

tied on wire that goes from post to post

so that they don’t drag on the ground

because if they drag on the ground

they’ll never grow the grapes won’t grow

so when you get bunches of grapes on a

vine they will drag the branch down and

it will be stuck in the dirt and when

it’s stuck in the dirt it can’t absorb

the sunlight because it’s got too much

dirt it’s not that the light isn’t

trying to shine on it it’s just it’s in

the dirt so they gotta lift it up or

take it away from the ground to get it

up out

dirt so they can tie it on the post so

it can receive from there the benefit

that should happen down here but if it’s

hanging out in the dirt

it’ll never benefit from what avail

wants to do down here to produce

something one reason why we’re not

producing fruit is we’re hanging too

much in the dirt that’s why if you want

to be a fruitful Christian you must be

willing to address unaddressed sin in

your life he’s got to be free to take

you up out of the dirt to take away you

hanging in the dirt because he wants you

to benefit from the Sun and you can’t do

that in the dirt see a lot of us are

saying God make me fruitful but we want

we don’t want to be taken away from the

dirt that’s a contradiction you can’t

hang out in the dirt and get the Sun

it’s a contradiction you got to give God

freedom to take you away from the dirt

to elevate you above the dirt so that

means you’ve got to walk for fun more

than the dirt now you can have the dirt

just no you won’t get the benefit of the

Sun and stay in the dirt he says the one

who bears no fruit he takes away and now

they’re bearing some fruit once you

start bearing a little fruit he now

prunes you the in diverse file says so

that you can bear even more fruit

pruning is cutting away that wood

siphons off life they are called

sucker shoots sucker shoots are little

branches that show up on the vine that

take away some of the nutrients designed

to get to the fruit to make the fruit

bigger and more or less

but they are siphoning it off and so

they create their whole little diversion

a shoot is a diversion it sucks

the nutrients designed for the fruit as

it’s flowing up it sucks it off and

takes it now issues don’t produce

anything but they like the nutrients so

what they do is they hang out to get the

nutrients with no intention of producing

anything so they take from you what

belongs to you for you to get what you

were designed to have that’s a

shoot so you care people in your life

that’ll shoes anybody have any

suckers in their life that is somebody

who is diverting away from you that

which is needed for you to become all

that God wants you to be they’re

siphoning off in other words they are

taking away from you that which was to

keep you flowing Godward they’re pulling

you in the wrong direction are we all

concerned about that with our kids we

don’t want them hanging out with soccer

shoes we raised them this way but some

sucker comes along and start siphoning

off that away for where we’ve raised

them and now we’re concerned because

they’re not becoming what we raised them

to be cuz they didn’t got some sucker

shoots hanging out in their lives things

can become sucker shoots things that are

not wrong in themselves but they divert

us from receiving all that God has for

us like television can be a sucker shoot

over all the television something’s good

but it can become a sucker shoot if it

robs you of spiritual intimacy if it’s

siphoning off time and energy that ought

to be given to God it now becomes a

sucker shoot even though there’s nothing

technically wrong with it in and of


hobbies can become soccer shoes nothing

wrong with a hobby but if it’s diverting

your fruitfulness he says I want you to

produce more fruit

I want that fruit to be big and luscious

I want the bananas to be big I want the

watermelons to be big I want the

cantaloupe to be big I want what’s

coming out of your life to be huge have

you gone to the grocery store you see

the fruit you said sure that’s too small

but haven’t you seen some big fruit you

say whoa look at the size of that that’s


God says I want a movie from no fruit –

fruit – more fruit too much fruit you

say ok ok I got it I got it I got it but

how do I get it how do I get it I won’t

I want fruit I coming out of my life

that’s rich and vibrant and exciting and

meaningful and I don’t want any more

rotten this one word you get this one

word I’m gonna give you one word one

word one word if you understand this one

word capture this one word act on this

one word you will begin to experience

God and proof that you experiencing him

is the fruit what begins to grow out of

your life it’s the word abide in eleven

verses he says the word ten times verse

four abide in me middle of verse four it

abides in the vine into verse 4 you

abide in me beginning of verse five he

who abides in me beginning of verse 6 if

anyone does not abide in me beginning of

verse 7 if you abide in me and my words

abide in you the end of verse nine I

have also loved you abide in my love the

middle of verse ten you will abide in my

love the end of verse ten abide in his

love anybody get a bada bada bada

bada bada bada badda bodda so evidently

he really wants you to know about this

he says if you get abide you get the

branch and the branch is well taken care

of by the god the garden has got the

vine covered the job of the vine is to

keep it flowing to the branch the job of

the branch is to abide the Greek word

abide is minnow say minnow now you got

two Greek words meu no it means to stay

hang out or loiter you and I have seen

signs no loitering

that means don’t hang out here don’t

hang out to abide is to hang out where

you hang out is way you buy he says if

you abide in me you will increase your

fruitfulness if you abide in me you will

increase your fruitfulness abiding means

staying intimately connected when a

woman gets pregnant there is an

umbilical cord that connects the baby

with the mother and guess what the baby

does face it off for mama mama eats the

baby faison’s off nutrients from the

food and because there is no break in

the connection baby grows baby gets

bigger mother’s belly gets larger Y

because of the faith Learning due to the

connection if there was a breach in the

umbilical cord there would be the

shrinking of life it is the ongoing

connection with the mother that keeps

the baby growing and makes the baby more

fruitful minnow abiding is

you hang out most of the couples who are

married here got married after you hung

out you are dated and you know you were

abiding because even when there was no

physical presence there was a telephone

so is you talking even you’re not

talking you looking at the phone even

though it didn’t ring to see whether you

missed a call anywhere you weren’t

talking you think about whether the next

time we gonna be talking because you’ve

got this a bite do you not see the other

person let’s say you date them once a

week once a week there’s a date

just once a week that is a physical

sighting there’s a physical sighting but

between days there is ongoing interface

conversations prospective mindset

sometimes it lasts five seconds other

times as I may last twenty five minutes

but there’s this ongoing connection

there may be only a physical sight once

a week but we have abided all week

because we’ve stayed in contact

that’s abiding on the other hand you

have married people who live in the same

house but who don’t abide there in the

same Road than in the same building but

there’s no ongoing connection or

communication so they’ve lost abiding in

fact you’ve heard me say this many times

in the Bible you didn’t get to marry

that’s a that’s a Western that’s really

a foreign concept to God’s perspective

that people would date to marry in the

Bible you marry today

in fact this is sort of a side note but

it really don’t take that long

it really doesn’t take that long

obviously if dating was the solution

then all these folks spent years dating

shouldn’t be getting divorced

if Dayton was the solution that’s not

the problem see the problem is that the

purpose for marriage is not being

realized it’s being realized before

marriage but not after marriage

so I mean there take a lot AIESEC so

Isaac so Rebekah the Bible says and said

uh-huh he said that’s what I’m talking

about the Bible says Isaac saw Rebecca

and married her on the spot the first

time he saw say he saw that’s it thank

you Lord for answering my prayer let’s

get married why because when you’re

experiencing God God can cut short your

time that you’ve been spinning bouncing

around the 50 different people getting

used up in 50 different ways getting

heartbroken getting my messed up getting

you know all that stuff God wants to

save them all that stuff because in the

Bible that is a foreign concept that’s

America but that’s not that’s not a

biblical worldview so you don’t by the

way you don’t raise your children to

date a bunch of people do you find the

right one that’s not what you do does

that means particularly for girls they

go get messed up by a bunch of different

people you don’t do that

he says if you will hang out with me if

you will abide so let’s say you you see

each other once a week but you’re

abiding all week long that makes when

you do come together that more dynamic

because now you have sight see a lot of

us date God once a week we dated at

10:50 on Sunday morning on Sunday

morning I say god I got a date I got a

date with y’all on Sunday morning you

and I gonna get together and we’re gonna

hook up and we got this to our day going

on and we’re going to get together and

it’s going to be a good date because we

gonna talk about you for two straight

hours two straight hours as always we we

will sing some songs with our children

we go ahead some people talk about

Cheerilee for two straight hours it’s

gonna be

and you then the benediction is given

and the dates over see you next week

10:54 the next day now make all your

wins tonight for a quick on

that’s not abiding that’s visiting most

of us visit God we don’t abide with him

we visited we may visit him with a quick

prayer in the morning we may visit him

we may read a verse a day to keep the

devil away we may go to church on Sunday

morning but we will visit him when a

branch is cut off from the vine it

shrivels Jesus says don’t disconnect

from me

don’t disconnect from me don’t just give

me my time and segregate that I want to

thread through all of your life all day

long now some of that thread will be

formal will actually get on our knees

and pray or will actually sit and read

the Bible that’s the formal time some of

it will be informal why are you walking

and why you’re driving them well why

you’re thinking you’re just gonna you’re

just gonna veer my way and you’re gonna

ask me God what do you think about that

before I make that decision see

sometimes it’s gonna be a five-second

prayer next minute might be a

five-minute prayer other times it may be

a concentrated 30 minute prayer but you

are threading me through all your

activities and what you’re doing whether

you eat or drink or whatever you do you

are bringing me to bail on everything

now you’re staying tucked in see what we

do is we go to church plug in then

disconnect and then we plug in when next

time we show up that’s being in the same

house for does not abiding this is

really convicting because this explains

a lot of our problems and our defeats so

here’s what people want they want a

microwave experience with God when God

is offering a crock-pot experience with


see we want to go in and we want to push

a worship button boom I give you this

many minutes god to set me on fire and

so we push the microwave button and we

get excited and we shout and we’re happy

and it looks like God is all over me and

it looks like eating microwave me on

fire but we all know something about

microwave food you can get it real hot

real quick but it’ll get real cold real

quick so we can we can we on Sunday

morning you know you can microwave you

only watch you cold by the time you get

your car and we know you’re cold cuz you

ain’t talking out there like you were

talking in here you didn’t got cold that


that’s a microwave experience God is

interested in a crock-pot man crock-pot

is slow you believe a crock pot on all

night long am I saying this right

I don’t know much mothers but you put on

the crock-pot in the crock-pot be going

all night long but when but when you

wake up the next day that thing has gone

all through that food and it’s taking it

over and it’s it’s well prepared God is

not interested in microwaving your

experience with him he wants to

crock-pot it with you he wants it to be

an ongoing slow steaming rich

environment that doesn’t become

disconnected one of the things that I do

not do around my house is wash dishes

I’m a confess publicly to you now that

probably wash dishes twice and I stand

convicted but washing dishes that’s just

not something I’ve done you know a wife

two girls and explains it but

brothers you don’t need to be saying

Amen right now that would not be wise

but one of the things I don’t get is

wash dishes but what I have done is so


of sultan when the dishes get dirty and

they have been a dirty for an extended

period of time you have to go to work to

clean them if you are just going to

clean them as they are you got to take

your coffin you got to use your arm and

you got to try to scrub it clean you

kind of try to force it off you gotta

gotta make it like you want it to be you

gotta you gotta go over and over and I’m

trying I’m trying and I’m trying to make

it better

and clean but if you soak them just let

him abide in hot water with sons just

let it abide just let it hang out in the

hot water and thirst you let it hang out

there for a while what you were trying

to force now slide he lot of us are

trying to change it I am going to make

myself a strong that a spiritual

Christian no matter if it kills me

or not I’m gonna try and Jesus is saying

so kid brother soaked in a by this is

just hangout abiding is David’s word for

ting the Old Testament meditation he

kept rolling stuff around he wouldn’t

let it go he rolled it around he says on

my night bed I rolled it around I rolled

it around I rolled it around and he

found out that when that thing takes

root see what we don’t allow is Jesus

Christ to take root see when you hear it

it hasn’t taken root that’s why you can

forget it because it hasn’t taken root

the idea is that get to the heart so

when it gets to the heart because it’s

taking root in the transformation then

fruit is being born and you wonder boy

I’m changing I’m not talking like it

used to talk I’m an acting like I used

to act and stuff I used to want I don’t

even want it like I used to brew it and

you wonder where that came from it

didn’t come because you scrub it came

because you abided you hung out I shared

this with you before but but it’s such a


raishin of abiding the two types of tea

drinkers there are dippers they take the

teabag go up and down up and down up and

down up and down up and down that

dippers now if your dipper that’s a lot

of work you got to do the arm thing you

got to go to gone exercise up and up and

up and they got to get a spoon with the

other hand and he got to put it under

the bag he got wrapped the string around

it you gotta take your finger and press

down on it to get all the juice out of

the bag into the water you know it’s a

lot of work I’m not a Dipper I’m in a


I just dropped my tea bag in the water

and leave it alone I let it hang out

there I just let it hang out I was

drinking tea with a guy one day and he

was a Dipper he was the Dipper he was

going up and down and up and down and up

and down and up and down and up and down

I just put my bag in the water and just

let it hang out he going up and down

going up and don’t even look him in he

says I can’t do what you just did I said

why can’t you do that

he said because if I do what you just

did my tea will get too strong see a lot

of us dipping on Sunday morning then we

dip back out we made it back in on

Wednesday then we dip back out

we may even dip in in the morning and

give God a verse and we get back out and

we wonder why we got week key God is

saying I want you to abide I want us to

hang out I want us to hang out I want I

want to be your your running buddy I

want to be included on all your

decisions I want to be interacted with

yeah you know I want I want you to think

thoughts about me every time you get a

break I want to be consumed by you and

watch what I produce in your life in

your attitude in your mindset in your

patterns in fact back in Colossians

chapter 1 he says in verse 11 and 12 he

says and you will have endurance he says

when the knowledge of God produces

fruitfulness with it it will produce


and you know it’s spiritual endurance

because he says it will be joyous now

whenever the Bible talks about endurance

it’s talking about your enduring

something that’s not the most pleasant

scenario right now you’re in a situation

that’s not your preference but he says

the reason you know God is at work is

you’re hanging in there joyfully before

you were in there and hated every moment

of it

now you’re in there God hasn’t give you

an exit from there but you’re full of

joy why are you in there

that’s because God has produced

something in you that wasn’t your normal

disposition because he said that the

other verse 12

you’ve been qualified to receive an

inheritance boy I wish we could all

understand this I got someone to go in

the mail from one of these credit-card

companies they told me I had been

pre-qualified have you gotten it

pre-qualified I didn’t apply for it I

didn’t ask for it

they sent me and tell me they have

already qualified me and they gave me

this ridiculous limit of debt that they

wanted me to get in they gave me this

ridiculous limit and told me I don’t

have to ask for I’ve already been

pre-qualified for he says at the end of

12 you have been qualified to receive an

inheritance when you accepted Jesus

Christ you got pre-qualified for

whatever God wants to produce in your

life it’s already been you already

qualify for it he just wants you to hang

out with him as simply as I can put it

for me for you for us if you want to

experience God for real and if you want

to see that produce stuff in your life

beyond what you could dream of fruit

that is enormous he says I buy hang out

with me sometimes that’ll be a little

bit here a little bit there sometime to

be long as I’m talking shorter but don’t

disconnect from me don’t pull the socket

out of the wall the food will go bad the

light will go

don’t pull the it out and let me

keep it fresh for you